Night at the museum: Adults-only sleepovers now offered

Asked why kids should have all the fun, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has responded with its first ever, adults-only sleepover this Friday night.

Since the December 2006 premiere of the film, “Night at the Museum” — partially shot at the museum, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — it has regularly held sleepover events for kids. The children’s programs have been wildly popular, said Brad Harris, the museum’s senior director of visitor services. Originally offered only six times a year, with each accommodating 250 people (the museum requires that one adult accompany up to three kids), there are now 22 children’s sleepovers annually, with 450 participants in each. So far 64,000 people have stayed overnight there.

“We’ve wanted to do it for adults for a while. We were waiting for the right time and moment. After doing 64,000 people through here, we wanted to change it up a bit,” Harris said.

“We’re always looking to do new things in the museum, particularly bringing a new demographic here, a demographic that doesn’t necessarily think about us,” such as 21- to 40-year-olds who may not have children or necessarily think of the museum “as the first place to go,” he added.

The Aug. 1 program — which the museum plans to continue offering after the inaugural event — will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a champagne reception and live jazz in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. This will be followed by a three-course, sit-down dinner with wine, and participants will be free to roam the museum’s galleries. They will also have the option to attend a special presentation by the curator of “The Power of Poison” exhibition; visit the “Spiders Alive” exhibition, with over 20 species of live arachnids; attend a midnight viewing of the “Dark Universe” space show; and see wild creatures close up in a live animal demonstration.

They will sleep on cots under the 94-foot-long blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. A “Lunar Lounge” for night owls will be open in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, equipped with tea service. A breakfast snack will be served at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, when the museum’s main gift shop will open for those wishing to buy souvenirs. The program will end at 9 a.m., though participants will be provided admission to the museum on Saturday.

Unlike the children’s sleepovers, the adult program will be an intimate affair: Only 150 people — who must be 21 or older — can participate.

The adult program also is much pricier than the children’s sleepovers: The tab is $375 per person, compared to $145 for kids and their parents.

The adult sleepover sold out three hours after it was posted online, Harris said. He expects many participants will be in their late 20s or early 30s, for the most part attending with a friend or friends.

The museum plans to put the adult program into its “fiscal calendar” going forward, he said, though it hasn’t chosen any dates yet. He said it was likely future adult sleepovers also will be offered on Friday nights.